A Beginner’s Guide to Manners: Thank You Notes

In the digital age, where emails and texts are commonplace, it can be hard to stress the importance of a handwritten thank note to your children. But expressing thanks is an important part of being a polite and courteous human being, and it’s a skill kids need to be taught. Sure, a thank you text is nice, but nothing beats a personal, handwritten note of thanks.  If you’re wondering about the basics of Thank You Note etiquette and how to get your kids involved in the process of writing thank you notes, read on for some helpful tips!

First and foremost, have an age appropriate conversation with your children about gratitude and the importance of giving thanks. Explain to kids that it’s important to say thank you, not only for the gift, but also for the effort someone put into the gift and the occasion. Say something like, “Your friend Aiden went to the store with his mommy and selected a gift they thought you’d like. Then he took the time to come to your birthday party to celebrate with you. We want to thank him for doing all that just for you!”

A Beginners Guide To Manners Thank You Notes

What kind of thank you note should you send?

  • A handwritten and personal thank you note is always the best bet.
  • Email is less formal and is ok if the gift was opened in front of the gift giver and the gift giver has already been thanked in person.
  • Try to avoid pre-printed thank you notes with a catchy little poem thanking everyone for coming and for their gift. They’re impersonal and can leave people wondering if you’re truly grateful for their presence or their gift.

A Beginner'S Guide To Manners: Thank You Notes 1 Daily Mom, Magazine For Families

Your child can and should help with the thank you note process.

  • Around 3 years old kids are ready to help write thank you notes.
  • Younger kids can dictate the wording to you, color a picture on the card and write their name at the end.
  • Older kids (ages 5 and up) can pick out thank you notes with you at the store or help you design a card online.
  • Teens can send an email or use a graphic design program to make their own thank you notes.
Product Recommendation

Pinhole Press thank you cards are beautiful, unique and easy to design. Enlist the help of your child and let him or her choose the picture to include on the front!

What should the thank you note say?

  • Keep it simple and personal. Thank the gift giver for the item or items. Then, give a reason why your child likes the gift or an example of how they’re planning use it. Lastly, thank the gift giver for thinking of your child or for coming to the event.
  • Even if your child isn’t old enough to write, ask your child for help with the wording. You’ll be surprised at how easily they can tell you why they love a particular gift!
  • If money is involved, keep it vague and don’t mention the amount given. Simply say, “Thank you for your generous gift.  I’m saving up to buy ______ and this will really help!”
  • If a gift card was given, include what the child used it for or what they plan to use it for.

 A Beginner'S Guide To Manners: Thank You Notes 2 Daily Mom, Magazine For Families

Other Tips:

  • Make writing thank you notes fun. Turn on some music, grab a few snacks and gather all your materials: the cards, envelopes, pretty colored pens or markers, stickers, stamps and return address labels. Sit at the kitchen table or a desk with your kids and work on them together.
  • Let your kids put the stamps and return address labels on the envelope and don’t stress if they’re not perfectly aligned. The receiver will know just who helped with the stamping and will likely find it adorable.
  • Don’t worry if you don’t get them all done at one time. In fact, it’s better to set aside some time over the course of a few days. Set a goal with your child to get 5 done each day until they’re complete. This way they won’t get burnt out and hate writing thank you notes!
  • Visit the post office together to mail them! Or, let your child put them in your mailbox and put the flag up for the mailman.
  • Don’t let too much time pass before sending the notes! It’s best to send them within two to three weeks of receiving the gift.
  • If you get feedback about the notes–maybe an older family member says they were pleased to receive the thank you note–make sure you pass along that info to your child! It’ll make him or her feel good and it’ll show your kids that it was worth the time spent!


Be sure to check out the other posts in our “manners” series like A Beginner’s Guide to Manners At the Dinner Table!

Photo Credits: Our Three Peas, The Quinntessential Mommy



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Krista lives in New York with her husband and their 3 year old daughter. In October, they welcomed a second baby, a boy! She teaches English at a local college and loves to read, shop, and cook. She enjoys blogging about motherhood at The Quinntessential Mommy. You can contact her via email, twitter or visit her blog.